Where will meeting planners take their events in the next two years? In North America, it’s New York City, while internationally London heads the queue, according to STR’s 2019 DestinationMAP, or Meeting Assessment Program.
New York — which this year also topped Resonance Consultancy’s “America’s Best Cities” ranking — is followed by Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. on the list, and Paris is in second place among international destinations, according to STR’s Destination-MAP, which is published every two years. The study measures planners’ preferences and perceptions and covers 42 North American markets.
“All five (top U.S.) markets are particularly popular in what we define as the largest meeting size segment (1,000+ attendees) along with Atlanta, Dallas, and Austin,” Chris Klauda, STR’s senior director, market insights, said in a statement.
In 2017, Chicago, Orlando, and Washington, D.C., were the top North American destinations being considered by meeting planners. New York was not in the top five in that study, finishing in ninth position. But that was before the opening of Hudson Yards and progress on such projects as the LaGuardia Airport transformation.
On this year’s list, Louisville, Austin, Denver, and Nashville showed the greatest year-over-year increase in group hotel demand, said STR, which provides data benchmarking, analytics, and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors.
And “new to the list of 42 markets evaluated is Puerto Rico,” Klauda added. “While not in the list of top destinations, a notable 4 percent of the 1,000 meeting planners surveyed plan to hold a meeting in Puerto Rico in the next two years.”
Additional findings include the fact that safety, cleanliness, value, and accessibility are what matter most to planners as they select a meeting site. And, STR found, the presence of panhandlers in a destination is an issue for planners, with 40 percent ruling out a destination for that reason.
Cristi Kempf is executive editor at Convene.